Updated 08/16/2012 04:45 PM
Officers Involved in Canal Rescue Talk About Incident
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"At that point, I didn't know how long they were in there, and there was virtually no signs of life out of the child,” said Adam Alliet.
What to do next for Allet and Paul Dondorfer, both officers with the Rochester Police Department, was dictated by training and instinct. One child was in the process of being pulled out of the Erie Canal.
"We knew what we had to do at that point. Our medical training took over and we immediately began mouth to mouth and checked for signs of life,” said Dondorfer.
While Dondorfer worked to save Sam Clanton, Alliet went looking for father John Clanton and daughter Selah. Witnesses said they were still in the water.
"It's kind of stressful, we're trying to give a lot of people a lot of help there and there's no room because it's all wooded, so it's a tough spot,” Alliet said.
Alliet found John holding a stroller with a child.
“He was doing everything he could just to keep the baby's head above the water,” he said.
The officer pulled up the stroller, with assistance of firefighters and students.
"Things just worked out, and aligned perfectly. Paul and I were there and showed up at the right place,” Alliet said.
A quick response by the officers was helped by the fact that they were at a pizza restaurant close by when they heard the first call for help.
Meantime, the Clanton family is hoping for a miracle. According to wife and mother Yvonne Clanton's blog site, the prognosis for Selah is not good. The girl is on life support, and the family is asking for prayers. The site includes entries talking about the Clanton's trip to Rochester, where another one of the Clanton's children was to undergo eye surgery.
A day after the rescue, the officers humbly pondered their heroic acts.
"There's that couple of hours of what just happened, then trying to piece everything back together and go from there. You get a feeling of satisfaction you did something good,” said Dondorfer.